If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

I often write about the powerful role Julie’s Restaurant played with USC athletics. It was the place to be for at least four decades (1950’s-80’s).

And here’s another great example: When John Robinson resigned from being vice president of university relations to become the Rams coach on Feb. 14, 1983, there was speculation he might take some USC assistants with him but no official announcements were made.

However, Julie’s broke the news on its sign outside the restaurant that assistant coaches Marv Goux and Hudson Houck would also leave USC for the Rams.

And where was Robinson that night after taking the Rams job? With Goux at Julie’s, of course! That kind of stuff never happens now.

  • People who only remember Robinson from his second era at USC in the 1990’s or maybe just a consultant now at LSU do not realize the anger on campus when he left his desk job for the NFL.

Here was upset athletic director Dick Perry:

“He’s affecting an awful lot of people’s lives,” Perry told the Daily Trojan “He should have thought that through before he made the decision. It’s most inappropriate for him to have left. If he hadn’t taken the position, I wouldn’t have been upset.”

Less than a month before he quit, Robinson told the Daily Trojan, he had “a stronger feeling about USC than . . . ever.”

  • The Grinder restaurant, which has been near USC on Figueroa St. for 48 years, will close Sunday. It will supposedly be replaced by apartments.
  • USC athletic director Mike Bohn tweeted late Thursday night, “Let’s pack the house” for the Arizona State basketball game on Saturday. The announced attendance was 4.121 for Arizona on Thursday night. It will take a lot more than that to pack the house.
  • Do you think in his heart of hearts, Bohn wishes he had his old basketball coach, Mick Cronin, at USC?
  • The way freshman Drake London is being used, or not being used, is a great advertisement for not playing two sports in college.
  • And now for some more history: When track was in its hey day, a highlight of USC meets was the “fat man’s relay,” which involved the big throwers running a 400-yard relay. In the 1ate 1950’s, USC relay teams featured the McKeever twins (Marlin and Mike), Rink Babka and Jack Egan. Eyewitnesses said they never lost a race.
  • Dick Bank, who was an assistant Athletic News Service director in the 1950’s, died Sunday at age 90. Bank was a die-hard USC football fan and considered an expert in track and field, where he was a CBS TV analyst in the 1960’s.

He used to read every local newspaper by 6 a.m. and often fired off acerbic/cantankerous letters (by typewriter) to sportswriters, usually criticizing their articles. We exchanged letters on USC football for years.

In 2014, I wrote USC quit in the second half against UCLA and got an immediate response: “I’ll tell you this, knowing the guys who played in the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s, a remark like that would have led to the author picking his teeth up off the ground.”

He once told me he was happy to hear legendary USC coach Howard Jones died in 1941 because the Trojans went 3-4-2 in 1940.

His most infamous moment came while working as a spotter for NBC at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. During the 10,000 meters, which American Billy Mills won in a stunning comeback, an excited Bank interrupted play-by-play announcer Bud Palmer by screaming “Look at Mills! Look at Mills!” 

Because the spotter does not speak on air, NBC fired Bank during the Olympics. You can hear it yourself in the video below around the 1:04 mark.

25 thoughts on “If It’s Friday, It’s Time For A USC Notes Column

  1. I’m not sure why the USC administration got upset with John Robinson when he left for the Rams head coaching position, because anyone with a brain would’ve done the same thing .

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Fan Boy — It was understood by all that, by assuming the Head Coach position, John Robinson was agreeing to die as Head Coach at USC. His repudiation of this understanding is the reason Clay Helton was forced to let him go.


    2. I agree with Fan Boy.
      Let’s see….
      Why would any intelligent man eschew tons more money and fame, along with a pleasant “off season,” for a sport where a corrupt, hypocritical, sycophantic governing body (NCAA) manipulates young (frequently disadvantaged) men’s lives to assure that those dedicated young men likely end up destitute?

      JR was always a loyal Trojan, and he was certainly smart.
      He left the cupboard full for Tollner (on O-line and Defense, at least).
      He left a brilliant, young Coach–Norv–for the O.
      He left another brilliant coach–Wannsteadt–for the D.

      I was one of the few Alums who went to that stinkin’ Sun Bowl shitshow
      (pardon my alliteration) in El Paso a few years ago. In was unusually cold with gale force winds. The Sun Bowl is an old stadium with no escalators or elevators (at least on the side Troy was sitting). Ole’ JR was there hoofing it up the stadium steps from the field level to the top VIP boxes–the equivalent of at least 10 flights of stairs–shaking hands and taking pix with the VERY FEW loyal fans.

      Y’all need to get off the JR hatin’ bus.
      If JR is hanging around Coach O and LSU, it’s because he is a winner and likes to hang around with other winners.


  2. The cantankerous Dick Bank was an avid read of InsideUSC. He left several comments on this blog over the last two years. His last complaining comment was a about a week ago. Despite his prickly demeanor, Bank was one of the most knowledgeable sports historians of our time.
    If Dick Bank could chime in now, he would probably say, “Now that I’m not here anymore, the readership of InsideUSC just decreased by 25%.”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Don’t forget that Billy Mills came off the Ogala Reservation back in the 1950’s to win that Gold Medal.* A proud Native American athlete.

      *(Yes he did attend college, but what an achievement!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Must suck to know that no matter what you do and what you say, at the end of the day nothing will change…..the sun rises and the sun sets & westwood sucks and the ruins (formerly a basketball school) will continue to suck.

        Will you get to celebrate another Sweet 16? At this point the ruins can’t even order these banners in advance…. hahahahaha

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Pisley bleats:

    “Must suck to know that no matter what you do and what you say, at the end of the day nothing will change…..the sun rises and the sun sets & westwood sucks and the ruins (formerly a basketball school) will continue to suck.”

    “Will you get to celebrate another Sweet 16? At this point the ruins can’t even order these banners in advance…. hahahahaha”

    Dear Pisley In answer to your sophomoric question, UCLA, doesn’t earn a living that requires you, dear Pisley, to SUCC long and hard for nickels.


  4. Attention all new SC assistant FB coaches: suggestion: have a talk with DL Brandon Pili to explore and evaluate with him if he would be better suited as an OL. He’s athletic and has decent foot work.

    Liked by 1 person

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